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    John Guignard said:


    First, a comment on:

    Nature Community Guideline 9, headed “No libel or other abuse”, which is sloppily written and partly redundant. It says:

    “You must not make or encourage comments which are:

    • defamatory, false or misleading;

    • insulting, threatening or abusive;

    • obscene or of a sexual nature;

    • offensive, racist, sexist, homophobic or discriminatory against any religions or other groups.”

    The words “sexist, homophobic” in the fourth bullet are surely already covered by “of a sexual nature” in the preceding bullet. Moreover, if words are to be retained which contain a specific admonition against homophobia, then surely, in fairness, heterophobia, which is not uncommonly expressed with more or less subtlety against heterosexuals or the heterosexual community at large by hostile homosexuals or their defenders must also be specified.

    Also in the fourth bullet, “other groups” is much too vague as a catch-all. What does “other groups” include: left-handers; librarians; libertarians; lorry drivers? And the total omission of several other egregious contemporary grounds for discrimination (eg, national origin, age; obesity; physical or mental disability) is surprising.

    The fourth bullet would be better rephrased as follows:

    “Personally offensive; racist; ageist; homophobic; heterophobic; xenophobic; or which discriminate against anybody with regard to their religion, national or regional origin, apparent fitness or disability, perceived social class or economic status.”

    Second. Turning now to your tips on CV-writing, some of these seem to confuse the purposes and composition of CVs and résumés, which documents need to be clearly defined and distinguished. (My CV is 8 pages long, 6 of those pages being a list of scientific publications, reports, presentations and such. Essentially, those 6 pages are a huge appendix to a résumé-length chronological document summarising education, employment and experience. That’s what makes it a curriculum vitae. It does not contain any statement about my goals or aspirations (which may or may not belong in a résumé), previous salaries, fees, grants or other payments, which should be of no interest or business of a scientific interviewer. But my résumé does bring out without harping on it that I’ve had experience in all three of scientific research, teaching and administration.)

    I agree that the less personal information put on the front of a CV or résumé the better (I’ve even received résumés bearing applicants’ telephone numbers, nick-names, and – astonishing in America – Social Security account number, which I immediately advise deleting. But I don’t agree that “it’s no longer necessary to list your postal address on your CV [or résumé]” – because, notwithstanding the best efforts of the late and lamented Steve Jobs, the whole world does not yet communicate electronically; and there is sometimes a need to exchange supplementary or legally signed documentation.

    It hardly seems necessary to say:  “You may be applying for several positions at once, so keep a copy of the job adverts and your applications for reference. It’s often a long time between the time you apply and the time you hear back… You don’t want to look like you don’t remember [what you’ve applied for]." “A long time” is a relative amount. Both as an applicant and as an interviewer I believe in prompt follow-ups by e-mail and, if necessary, by ‘phone or letter – usually within a matter of days or 2-3 weeks at most – to make sure that applications have been received and not rejected or that applicants are still interested and that their circumstances have not changed. Moreover, I’m a great believer in the old-fashioned courtesy of “thank you” letters, for people’s time regardless of the outcome of the application/interview.